In the studios of CinecittÃ , the director Alessandro Blasetti is doing screen tests in order to find a young girl for his next film. Among the many mothers bringing in their young daughters there is also Maddalena Cecconi, a woman from Rome's lower classes who dreams of seeing her baby, Maria, become a star.
Against the wishes of her husband Spartaco, Maddalena exploits every opportunity to realize her hopes: she enrols Maria in a dance and acting course, pays for the photographer and hair-dresser, and gets the girl custom-made clothing. In her excitement, the woman also uncautiously relies on unscrupulous Alberto Annovazzi, who assures her that, in knowing the right people, he can get Maria admitted to the screen tests.
Maddalena thus hands over every penny of her savings to the rogue; he soon reveals his true face, but too late for Maddalena to get her money back. Nevertheless, despite being tricked, Maria is admitted to the screen test and Maddalena sneaks into the auditorium to see her daughter's performance. But the heart-rending scene of her daughter in tears and frightened while the jury is laughing at the girl, opens her eyes.
In the end, even if the girl is accepted, Maddalena regains her pride and decides not to hand over Maria's innocence to a world without moral ethics; indignant, she refuses to sign the contract, and only wants to go home and make peace with her husband. (Summary from RAI)
Anna Magnani .... Maddalena Cecconi
Walter Chiari .... Alberto Annovazzi
Tina Apicella .... Maria Cecconi
Gastone Renzelli .... Spartaco Cecconi
Arturo Bragaglia .... Photographer
Alessandro Blasetti .... Himself
Tecla Scarano .... Elocution Teacher
Linda Sini .... Mimmetta
About this movie
Title: Bellissima (1951)
Directed by: Luchino Visconti
Date of birth: 2 November 1906, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Date of death: 17 March 1976, Rome, Italy
Writing credits: Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Francesco Rosi, Luchino Visconti
Music: Franco Mannino
Color: Black and White
Runtime: 108 min